Aspen Ideas: Is Design Too Dangerous to Teach?
President and CEO at MAYA Design, Inc
I’ll be recharging my brain, exploring far-reaching ideas about education, design literacy, leadership, and civil society over the next few days at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
My focus will be on understanding how these deep and subtle topics fit together, and how we cope with the emergent consequences of our actions, in the coming age of connectivity and complexity—when trillions of computing devices are connected to each other, and to us.
Given that I’m humbled to be staying on a campus designed by Herbert Bayer of Bauhaus fame, I think it might be fitting to start my first post at the intersection of design and education.
The questions I’d like to pose are simple, “Should we just leave design to designers?” and “Is human-centered design important enough to teach people as a basic literacy?”
Let’s try a dramatic thought experiment.
Imagine we set up a research study at our labs to answer these questions. But instead of working with kids or people like me and you, we exposed the worst that our society has to offer—extremists, terrorists, zealots—to the practice of human-centered design. Couple that with the transformational power of the Internet of Everything—or the Industrial Internet or however you prefer to call the era of pervasive computing—and what do you suppose the outcomes would be?
Below are a few of our hypothetical researcher’s journal entries as he explores these questions:
08:30 AM April 1, 2018, Research Campus Number 5
NOTE: We will be using the full capabilities of the Double-Helix simulation environment and will be running the clock at significantly faster than real time. Our goal is to simulate a year in a week, a week in a day, so that we can adequately study the emergent patterns of our experimental scenario.